668.82/2–1052: Telegram

No. 306
The Ambassador in Turkey (McGhee) to the Department of State1

secret

741. At mtg with PriMin and FonMin Feb 8, I referred to press speculation during visit Grk Dept PriMin Venizelos of discussions with Turk Govt re Yugo. FonMin replied that speculation had centered largely around extended informal discussion between Venizelos, himself, and Yugo Amb at reception given by Grk Amb. He, FonMin, had arranged conversation as gesture to facilitate goodwill between three countries. Conversation which ensued friendly but general in nature and resulted in no formal proposals or agreements. Yugo Amb stated clearly, however, that Yugo would defend itself in event of attack by Russia, which led to acknowledgment by all through community of interest this connection.

Pres Bayar, in discussion with Venizelos, expressed approval exchange of Ministers and good relations developed between Greece and Yugo and encouraged Venizelos seek even closer cooperation with Yugos.

In subsequent discussions, Venizelos and Turk officials agreed desirability their attempting jointly to develop closer relations with Yugo, with objective of reaching agreement hold secret staff discussions, probably at subordinate level, re military coordination in event of attack by Russia. FonMin thought possible that agreement to hold such discussions might develop naturally within two or three months, and asked whether or not we would be able to facilitate discussions. I replied that I wld query Dept re possibility Amb Allen in Belgrade, either on his own or on our govt’s initiative, sounding out Yugos with respect possible participation in such discussions. It might be stated to Yugos that we had reason to believe such discussions would be welcome to Grks and Turks. FonMin and [Page 591]PriMin expressed approval this procedure and confidence in Amb Allen and his ability handle situation.

Appreciate having comments of Dept and Embs Athens and Belgrade with respect to feasibility foregoing suggestion. Believed desirable not raise matter with Grk Govt at this stage. In this connection Italian Amb recently commented that NATO Command containing Italy, Greece and Turkey will present irresistible attraction to Yugo which his govt hopes, of course, will result ultimately in Yugo association.

McGhee
  1. Repeated for information to Belgrade and Athens.